Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I am opening up what I am calling a "DIRECTOR'S VIEW OF FOREVER STORM" sub-site to the main sites

 you tube trailer of IMMER NOCH STURM

First of all, a summary note that I wrote at the end of August.

IMMER NOCH STURM/ FOREVER STORM is both a  play and a novel in five acts, with one set, and 7 major characters. It is Handke's 10th major play*. The author, first, creates a fictional "I", the puppet master creates a puppet that, to put it simply, half resembles the actual author, Peter Handke, through the ages of his timeless life on an even more timeless heath - the place, forever the place, perhaps the main character, the last dramas the dramas of places, the stage. Thereupon, the puppet master author has the "I's" significant, his imagoes, appear, externalized out of his memory as it were, and his relationship to them, his ancestors.  

 The problems, artistically, are representational: how to honestly reduce these imagoes, make them speak, on stage - just imagine the endless associations you have to the persons you were closest to in your youth. How to get the essentials down.

 In VOYAGE BY DUGOUT [1994] the presenters are two film directors. In TRACES OF THE LOST [2005] the "author" enters proceedings very similar to the fabulating THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER [1991]. The "place" has been the main character, perhaps since Handke's first major play, PUBLIC INSULT; certainly since THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER. The, or "an" author becoming part of the proceedings is a very honest way of doing so - unless he pulls some serious punches, as I think Handke does here in once instance. 

 STURM is an ancestor play. Handke's attachment to these ancestors, his mother, his uncle Gregor Sivec, and his grandparents, is grounded in him  early on and in a place, Carinthia. The book his uncle Gregor wrote as an apple horticulturalist has been significant to him since his earliest days as a reader, and the letters that the two brothers, Gregor and Hans, wrote from the front as WW II as conscripted soldiers in the German Army, are a family heirloom. Yet STORM links up most directly to certain sections of Handke's WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES that also treat of the appearance of ancestors out of their graves into his conscious life, as more real than the living. STURM  also harks back to Handke's first novel DIE HORNISSEN, Los Hormigas, it is also in French and Italian, and I suspect in a few other languages  [THE HORNETS, bombers of WW II vintage] where a missing uncle features, and of course the bucolic surround.

 Wanting just to celebrate his Carinthian Slovenian folk, Handke might have rewritten Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN with emphasis on the Slovenian minority if that is merely what he wanted to do - the actual Peter Handke is, ethnically, half Slovenian and half German, had four years of a Catholic Seminary education, prior to entering a regular Gymnasium and then dropped out of Graz law school on completion of his first novel, in 1964; only his passport is Austrian, as he was born in Austria, in December 1942; his mother ethnically a minority Slovene, his father a German soldier stationed in Carinthia, his name giving stepfather, his actual father's companion from the same German outfit. Since about the time that Handke became famous at age 24, in 1966, he has not lived in Austria, except from 1979 to 1986 for his first daughter, who had been going to school in Paris, to acquire an Austrian high school education [1979-86], in Salzburg. He first lived in Germany until moving to Paris from 1972 to 1979 and again outside Paris since 1989, one year was spent traveling all around the world. GESTERN UNTERWEGS [Jung & Jung, 1999, Handke's Austrian publisher, as compared to his main German, Suhrkamp Verlag, gives a wonderful account of that year in diary form.]. Handke's relationship to Austria is, to put it mildly, equivocal. With his 1987 narrative THE REPETITION, the re-writing of SORROW BEYOND DREAMS [1972], his account of the thwarted happiness of his mother's life, Handke starts to assume a Carinthian Slovenian identity by means of installing both his uncle Gregor and his grandfather, the "Ote", as the missing father figures, he makes a Slovenian/German dictionary of his own, since, till then, he had only tenuous knowledge of Slovenian. Handke is a kind of half illegitimate child of a German soldier stationed in Griffen in 1942, [he makes a lot of fun of his being a "wunderkind" bastard child in STORM] a Herr Schoeneherr, who however would not marry Maria Sivec since he already had a wife and children in Germany. His mother Maria Sivec, subsequently, so as to have a husband, and - so I assume -  acquire legitimacy for herself and the child, certainly not out of the same kind of love she felt for the  actual father or her love child, married Herr Schoeneherr's fellow soldier, the name-giving Bruno Handke, who also had the hots for her, a chap from Berlin. While both father and stepfather survived the war, Bruno being wounded around 1944 and then working on the Berlin tramways, two of the Sivec sons, Gregor and Hans, did not. Only the third Sivec son, Jure, did, and turned Austrian nationalist! Handke met his actual father about the time of his graduation from Gymnasium, his Matura, at age 22, that is a beehive of a novel, and not what Handke wrote here.

 All the characters in FOREVER STURM have major qualites of Handke's foisted on them -  Gregor is given Handke's mono-maniacalness, first as a horticultuaralist, later, as PARTISAN fighter, of being a fighter in chief; of  Gregor's two younger brothers Valentin  is given Handke's once   Don Juan who merely has to lie back and the hussies climb into his lair; Benjamin is outfitted with Handke's extreme nausea at so much that is nauseating in this world; the "I's" mother turns from country girl sassy city wise, but is outfitted with Maria Sivec's unthwartable optimistic side; not her depression. The grandfather is the same obstinate old cuss as which I have come to know him via Handke many notes and comments;  the grandmother is the peacemaker: but there is also an older sister, a complete invention for the sake of the drama, who is a misfit - as Handke has felt to be from early on, Ursula, who however, finds her calling as a Partisan,  and  there receives a new name Senececa, Snowchick, a worthy companion to the Bear Skin Woman of VOYAGE BY DUG OUT. They are all Carinthian Slovenes, a badly treated minority before, during and again shortly after WW II. Handke did not just want to celebrate his Slovenian/ Slavic identity, but also the heroism of the Carinthian Slovenes who became PARTISANS towards the end of the short lived Third Reich. In that the play diverges radically from the biography of his own family, none of whom were PARTISANEN, and on closer inspection  look to be on the way to assimilation. A lot of history enters the play/ novel, and it is odd for certain aspects, such as the 1938ANSCHLUSS and Austria's claim to have been a victim of Nazism, to go unmentioned in those sections where the "I" narrator fantasizer speaks what are alleged to be historically incontrovertible data. 

 Although a lot of Handke's self and autobiography can be said to have entered STORM, it would be inadvisable to address Handke's biography with an invention such as STORM as your starting point! Handke is also having a lot of fun, our worthy successor to Nestroy and Raimund and Grillparzer with some strong shots of Shakespeare, Goethe and Euripides in him. Handke regards himself and so do I in the succession of that great company. And Freud, who could not imagine Shakespeare as being a commoner genius with a good education, might have second thoughts when regarding the career of our once piss pot poor Peter Handke, who did not become one of the "cheese wheels" that keep on trundling downhill [WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES.]

 EINEN JUX WILL ER SICH MACHEN - perhaps the biggest kick Handke got out of the proceedings at the play's premiere in Salzburg this past August was to have a bunch of Slovenian hillbillies speaking the most marvelous High German before that well heeled festival crowd!

 STORM is also a play that can be read as a novel. Knowing that the chances of frequent performances of his text is unlikely, Handke has been writing what are called Lese Dramen as of WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES. With STORM he has perfected the meshing of direction with action and speechifying. It takes a bit of effort read and imagine plays and screenplays, here it is made as easy as can be.

 The question that might face a poet, in blunt terms, a poet who - although he now also writes in French [La Cuisine, TILL THE DAY DO US PART was written first in French, Jusqu'la que le jour vous separe ou Une question de lumiere] and also writes in Slovene judging by a fair amount of in Slovene in STURM [Slovene first started cropping up in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES in 1981] - is: I want so show how intimate how close I am, how someone, and I can be to my ancestors, how they possess me, I want to find a poetic equivalent to what has preoccupied me off and on for decades, I want to exhibit that and write a delight that will make others think about their ancestors. I am going to turn my insides out, exhibit my self, and what a very big self I have! On stage this requires a tremendous simplifying down, sharp distinct strokes, allocating of major qualities of mine that I share with my ancestors; qualities that I understand in some fashion, or at least as well as a Singer Sowing machine does - to get that wonderfully silly joke you will have to read the play! 

 Let me briefly indicate a dyadic intimacy that is the diametric opposite of what Handke achieves in STURM, a kind of intimacy which might be at most hinted on stage, the dyadic intimacy between analyst and patient, or even closer: between two analysts who are married, who understand each others dreams as soon as one of them uttered one or two words in their recounting, something much closer than merger.

  I once wrote up an example of that kind of experience as TRAPPING THE TRAPPER. and I see why Freud tended to believe in ESP with the kind of experiences you have with analysands over the years. How do you put the relationships that exists inside you, in your psyche, to those imagoes to the people you are closest to because they exist inside you, on to a stage? Our inner-of-the-outerworld-innerworld presenter exhibitor keeps finding ever new and creative ways of doing so.
     How can you even create a sense of such intimacy on stage without
 resorting to the kind of cliches that are not cliches when spoken between two people who know each other intimately?
     Handke also wants to do something for "his" people, the Carinthian
 Slovenians, and he doesn't want to write an editorial, or get on a soap
 box, he is convinced that an artistic communication, an aesthetically
 pleasing and gripping engaging, thoroughly composed work of art, will be superior, and he has all the reason in the world to believe that he has the artistic means to do so. And a by and large well woven well planned work it turns into. Had I the time, I would diagram how the threads are woven on very strong five act carpet backing with each act having some major movement shifts itself. You can follow the craft. It is that of a major composer, how the threads are woven, how he exhilirates in verbal acrobatics. Some of the matters that trouble me, to which I have reservations are listed in the to and fro of my and Scott Abbott's, fellow Handke translator's comments, in a nutshell: Handke writes out, whites out the fact that his mother married a German soldier. That man Bruno Handke, turned out to be fairly monstrous, eventually. As an autobiographic detail it is not necessary, but dramatically, within the tensions of the play, between the imagoes on stage, this becomes a gaping hole by ACT IV.


 since I am now rereading the entire text and will comment on it from that perspective. Michael Roloff, August 24, 2011.


OF THE PLAY WHICH SETS THE STAGE - A HEATH-STEPPE - ALSO LEAR TERRITORY - WHICH I WILL REFER  TO FREQUENTLY, BECAUSE IS SHOWS THE NARRATING "ICH'/ "I' - and the changes ., he ages right there within the first fifteen minutes, from young, to older than the family members that appear out of his memory. THAT IS, THAT ACTOR WHO WAS ORIGINALLY MEANT TO BE PLAYED BY THE GREAT GERD  VOSS, MANY THINK OF HIM AS THE BEST STAGE ACTOR IN EUROPE, since he is well along in years, would have had  to wear a mask at once...and this direction for a change of face once again throws everything in doubt, not just the place...
I can't tell from the reviews which can be  found at
whether Jens Harzer who then received the role, and received mixed review, donned
a mask at the end of the first monologue, but I would think that doing so is absolutely essential.

The main discussion is taking place at:,,storm.html

THE SIDE DISCUSSION, launched by Scott Abbott, chiefly on language,can be found at:



Leseprobe,Handke, Peter,Immer noch Sturm,© Suhrkamp Verlag,978-3-518-42131-4,Suhrkamp Verlag,,,,SV,,Peter Handke,Immer noch Sturm,Suhrkamp,Erste Auflage 2010,© Suhrkamp Verlag Berlin 2010,Alle Rechte vorbehalten, insbesondere das der Übersetzung,,der Aufführung durch Berufs- und Laienbühnen, des,öffentlichen Vortrags sowie der Übertragung durch Rundfunk,und Fernsehen, auch einzelner Teile. Das Recht der,deutschsprachigen Aufführung oder Sendung ist nur vom,Suhrkamp Verlag Berlin zu erwerben. Kein Teil des Werkes,darf in irgendeiner Form (durch Fotografie, Mikrofilm oder,andere Verfahren) ohne schriftliche Genehmigung des Verlages,reproduziert oder unter Verwendung elektronischer,Systeme verarbeitet, vervielfältigt oder verbreitet werden.,Druck: Memminger MedienCentrum AG,Printed in Germany,ISBN 978-3-518-42131-4,1 2 3 4 5 6 – 15 14 13 12 11 10,

»Amère ironie de prétendre persuader et convaincre, alors que ma certitude,profonde est que la part du monde encore susceptible de rachat n’appartient,qu’aux enfants, aux héros et aux martyrs.«,
Georges Bernanos, Les Grands Cimetières sous la lune,»Bittere Ironie: die Einbildung, zu überreden und zu überzeugen, während es,meine tiefe Gewißheit ist, daß der für eine Errettung noch zugängliche Teil,der Welt einzig den Kindern, den Helden und den Märtyrern gehört.«,Georges Bernanos, Die Großen Friedhöfe unter dem Mond,

»Ich«,Meine Mutter,Meine Großeltern,Gregor, »Jonatan«, der älteste  Bruder der Mutter,Valentin, der zweitälteste der Brüder,Ursula, »Snežena«, Schwester der Mutter, Benjamin, der jüngste Bruder,

Eine Heide, eine Steppe, eine Heidesteppe, oder wo. Jetzt,,im Mittelalter, oder wann. Was ist da zu sehen? Eine Sitzbank,,eine eher zeitlose, im Mittelgrund, und daneben oder,dahinter oder sonst wo ein Apfelbaum, behängt mit etwa,99 Äpfeln, Frühäpfeln, fast weißen, oder Spätäpfeln, dunkelroten.,Sanft abschüssig erscheint diese Heide, heimelig. Wem,zeigt sie sich? Wem erscheint sie so? Mir hier, im Augenblick.,Ich habe sie vorzeiten, in einer anderen Zeit, gesehen, und,sehe sie jetzt wieder, samt der Sitzbank, auf der ich einst mit,meiner Mutter gesessen bin, an einem warmen stillen Sommer‑,oder Herbstnachmittag, glaube ich, fern vom Dorf, und,zugleich in der Heimatgegend. Ungewohnt weit war und,ist jener Heimathorizont. Ob das Gedächtnis täuscht oder,nicht: aus der einen, dann der anderen Ferne ein Angelusläuten.,Und auch wenn das wieder eine Täuschung ist: im,nachhinein scheint es, daß die Mutter und ich uns an der,Hand halten. Überhaupt geschieht in meinem Gedächtnis da,alles paarweise; die Vögel fliegen zu Paaren im Himmel, die,Schmetterlinge flattern paarweise durch die Lüfte, paarweise,schwirren die Libellen, undsoweiter. Das Apfelbäumchen,freilich ist mir, zusammen mit den nachleuchtenden  Äpfeln,,solcherart in wieder einer anderen Zeit begegnet, in einer,Nachtsekunde, in einem Tagtraum, oder wann. Ich bin zunächst,dagesessen mit geschlossenen Augen. Jetzt schlage ich,sie auf. Und was sehe ich nun? Meine Vorfahren nähern sich,von allen Seiten, mit dem typischen Jaunfeldschritt, deutlich,von einem Fuß auf den andern tretend. Einzeln kommen sie,daher, ausgenommen das Großelternpaar,  einzeln die mehr,oder weniger oder vielleicht gar nicht verwirrte Schwester,meiner Mutter, und ebenso einzeln wandern mir deren drei,Brüder daher, jeder auf einem eigenen Weg, oder Nichtweg.,Der jüngste purzelt eher, läßt sich rollen, wie übermütig.,Einzeln steuert ein jeder auf den ihm scheint’s vorgegebenen,Ort oder Stehplatz zu, bis auf meine Großeltern wieder,,welche sich auf die Bank setzen. Gar nicht alt ist dieses Paar,,und ausnahmslos jung deren fünf Kinder, selbst der Erstgeborene,,der Einäugige dort mit dem dichten Schnurrbart,,geboren doch ziemlich lang vor den andern. Der jüngste der,Söhne ist fast noch ein Kind, und meine Mutter erscheint mir,buchstäblich blutjung, und beinah als heimliche Geliebte des,mittleren Bruders, des schon früh weithin bekannten Frauenhelden.,(»Blutjung« ist dagegen ihre kaum ältere Schwester,angeblich nie gewesen.) Und daß ich’s nicht vergesse: Sie alle,erscheinen mir in Schwarzweiß, nicht nur ihre Gewänder, und,alle schön, wie eben nur welche in Schwarzweiß. Seltsam, daß,diese Gestalten da ganz und gar nicht den Vorfahren ähneln,,wie sie im Leben, oder auf Photographien, oder in den Erzählungen,sich mir eingeprägt haben. Sie  sind es nicht, weder,in Aussehen noch Haltung noch Mienen. Und zugleich sind,sie es. Sie sind es! Und dazu paßt es, daß sie mich jetzt auf,meinem Platz ausfindig machen und mich erkennen, einer,nach dem andern, erschrocken, erfreut, verdrießlich, gleichgültig,,still, laut. Ein mehrstimmiges: »Hallo! Da schau her.,Ach herrje. Der also. Du hier!« ergibt das, gefolgt von dem,familien- und sippenüblichen einstimmigen Seufzerchor und,dann einem ein‑ oder zehnstimmigen »Komm, Nachzügler.,Aufgesprungen auf den Familienzug, Nachfahr. Der einzige,,der uns noch träumt. Ach, daß uns doch einmal jemand anderer,träume! Jemand Sachgerechter. Einer, der uns denkt,,und bedenkt – und nicht dein ewiges Gedenken, dein immerwährendes,Heraufbeschwören. Mit einem Wort: ein Dritter!,Kannst du uns nicht endlich in Ruhe lassen? Aber da du,schon einmal da bist: Her mit dir, Letzter, ins Bild mit uns.«,Mindestens dreimal habe ich mir das sagen lassen, bis ich,der Einladung, oder dem Befehl, oder was es war, nachgekommen,bin. Ich habe gezögert, wie es meine Art ist. Von,meinem Sitzplatz aufgestanden, habe ich mich wieder hingesetzt.,Auf halbem Weg, an der Schwelle hinauf zur Heidesteppe,,habe ich stehenden Fußes kehrtmachen wollen. Und,schließlich habe ich, bei meinen Ahnen angelangt, mich bei,einem von ihnen verstecken wollen; nicht bei den Großeltern,,auch nicht bei den Schürzenzipfeln der Mutter – sie trug,tatsächlich eine Schürze, eine festtägliche, wie in der anderen,Zeit die Dorffrauen –, und auch nicht hinter dem ältesten,und größten der Brüder. Sondern? Hinter dem jüngsten und,,kleinsten. Um so sichtbarer muß ich so wohl geworden sein:,Eine heutige Allerweltsfigur, eine von Millionen, im dazugehörigen,Interkontinentalaufzug, schon auf den ersten Blick,im Gegensatz zu dem zeitlosen ländlichen Feiertagsgewand,meiner Vorfahren. Auffällig an mir auch, wieder im Gegensatz,zu den andern, daß ich als einer erscheine, der schon in,den Jahren ist, älter gar als das Großelternpaar. Meinem Alter,nach könnte ich zum Beispiel den ziemlich bejahrten »Vater«,der blutjungen »Mutter« darstellen.,Deren jüngster Bruder, das Fastkind, ist, mit mir im Schatten,,immer wieder, sagen wir, dreimal, zur Seite getreten, und,ich bin ihm nachgerückt. Und zugleich ist die Sippe, geleitet,von meiner Mutter, mir auf ähnliche Weise nähergerückt,und hat einen eher lichten Halbkreis um mich gebildet. Diese,gemeinsame Bewegung hat mich freilich nicht geängstigt: Ich,bin zuletzt meinen Leuten entgegengekommen und habe ihnen,nacheinander die Hand gereicht (eine andere Berührung,kam ja, oder kommt, bei unsereinem kaum in Betracht). Nur,vor der Mutter dann habe ich im Abstand innegehalten, und,habe gesagt: »Da seid ihr nun, Vorfahren. Die längste Zeit,schon habe ich auf euch gewartet. Nicht ich lasse euch nicht,in Ruhe. Es läßt mich nicht in Ruhe, nicht ruhen. Ihr laßt,mich nicht in Ruhe, nicht und nicht. Hallo, Frau Mutter! Seit,einer Ewigkeit nicht mehr zu Gesicht bekommen. Und noch,immer redest du mit deinem landfremden Akzent, als ob,,die Truppen Napoleons weiterhin die Herren von Kärnten,und Krain wären, du Karawankenfranzösin du. Guten Tag,,Großmutter, stara mati, dober dan. Guten Tag, Großvater,,stari ocˇe, dober dan, tesar, bzw. Zimmermann. Guten Tag,,Onkel und Taufpate Gregor, moj stric in moj boter, mein,Onkel und mein Pate, dober dan. Guten Tag, teta, das ist:,Tante, Ursula, keine Angst, und schon gar nicht hier, vor mir.,Cheers, Mutterbruder Valentin, Englischsprecher of  our family,,Schachmeister, und auch sonst ein kleiner Meister. Guten,Tag und dober dan, stric Benjamin, Fastkind du, dem die,Erde der Tundra, gemäß dem Spruch auf dem Gedenkstein,,leicht sein sollte. Und jetzt du, Mutter: So jung wie jetzt warst,du in meinen Tag‑ wie Nachtaugen nie.  Und auch eine andere,Erscheinung bist du jetzt, mit anderen Zügen, einer anderen,Stimme, einem anderen Akzent, anderen Augenfarben.,Und doch bist du dieselbe. Du bist es. Aber sag: Wo sind,wir jetzt alle zusammengekommen? Denn unsere Gegend,scheint das hier nicht zu sein, bis vielleicht auf den Apfelbaum,da. Nur schauen bei uns zuhause die Äpfel ganz anders,aus, wie eben Äpfel zum Hineinbeißen, zum Stehlen. Und,dieses Dörrzeug da verlockt einen weder zum Hineinbeißen,noch zum Obstdiebwerden, und schon gar nicht zum Sündebegehen.,(Obststehlen war in unserer Gegend ja nie eine,Sünde – oder mittlerweile doch?) Und  unsere Gegend und,das Gelände hier: erst recht kein Vergleich. Was soll das-dada,eigentlich darstellen? Eine Heide? Die Steppe? Die Taiga?,,Die Tundra? Für mich: zum Davonlaufen. Nur daß das nächste,Gelände ziemlich sicher noch um eins gottverlassener ist,,und die übernächste Station ganz sicher eine Jauchenstation,,und die überübernächste todsicher ein Minenfeld, und so,fort, bis zuletzt an gar keinen Ort.« Die blutjunge Mutter hat,gleich geantwortet: »Auch ich habe dich nicht gleich erkannt.,Und bevor du ins Reden kamst, war ich – unsicher. Aber so,weiß ich, du bist es, mein Sohn. Mein Sohn, der nie zu uns,hier, zur Familie, zur Sippe gehören wird, Vaterloser du, der,du Ersatz, Halt und Licht suchst bei deinen Vorfahren. Und,jetzt zu deiner Frage, die wieder einmal keine war: Doch, das,hier ist unsere Gegend. Es ist das Jaunfeld, im Land Kärnten,,slowenisch Koroška, lepa Koroška, das schöne Kärnten. Und,da hinten irgendwo mußt oder kannst du dir unsere Saualpe,oder die Svinjska planina vorstellen, die, obwohl sie ja nach,außenhin daliegt wie eine Riesen-Sau, in Wirklichkeit nach,dem Blei, in unserer Haussprache svinec, heißt, dem Blei oder,svinec innen im Berg, von welchem die wüsten Sommergewitter,auf der Svinjska planina oder Saualpe her - -, her - -,,hilf mir, Sohn, nein, hilf mir nicht, herrühren, herstammen,,und ebenso unser Haus‑ und Familienname, erinnere dich,,nein, erinnere dich nicht, du hast seit je ein schlechtes Gedächtnis,,merk es dir, Sohn. Und merk dir: Sau haben, heißt,bei uns hier: Glück haben, und: Auf die Saualpe gehen, heißt,bei uns: glückselig gehen, ohne Bleifüße gehen.«,,Ich habe kurz ihr Spiel mitgespielt wie sie das meine zuvor:,»Und was muß ich mir dort hinten für einen Totschlägerberg,,für ein Jammertal, für eine Teufelsschlucht, für eine Drachenwand,,für ein Steinernes Meer, für eine Mammutfurzklamm,,für einen Selbstmördergrat vorstellen?«,Die Mutter hat mein Spiel nicht mehr mitgespielt: »Dort hinten,kannst du dir die Karawanken denken, und dahinter dann,Slowenien, Jugoslawien.«,Ich, in einem Versuch, weiterzuspielen: »Aber Jugoslavija,,das gibt es doch seit einer Ewigkeit nicht mehr, nicht das,königliche nach dem Ersten, und erst recht nicht das ohne,König nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Was für eine Art von,Zeit soll hier eigentlich gelten? Wann ist das, jetzt? Die,Heide-Steppenzeit, oder was? Die Sonntagsschürzenzeit?,Die Knickerbockerzeit? Die Butterfaßzeit? Die Apfelveredelungszeit?,Die Mistausfuhrzeit? Die Kukuruz‑ oder, wie war,das Wort, Türkenschleißzeit, wo ihr alle abends beim Maisschälen,im Stall gehockt seid und euch beim Geschichtenerzählen,und Liederabsingen eine andere Zeit vorgegaukelt,habt? Oder doch die Realzeit, die historische, die beschissene,,die auf ewig verlorene, von euch und auch mir verlorene,,und ihr Kümmerer, wir Kümmerer, bleischwer verloren in,ihr?«,,Darauf die Mädchenmutter: »Unbekannte Gestalt, bekannte,Sprache. An deiner Sprache erkenne ich dich, Affensohn. An,unserer Sprache sind wir alle Versammelten hier zu erkennen,,erkennen wir uns wenigstens untereinander, jeder von,uns Unsrigen den andern als einen Unsrigen. Keiner in der,Gegend hat so gesprochen wie wir. Keiner im ganzen Land,spricht so wie wir, wird so gesprochen haben wie wir. Zeigt,es ihm.«,Allgemeines Innehalten. Die Wortmeldung kommt dann von,dem Mutterbruder, den ich als »Valentin« angeredet habe.,(Als er vortritt, sehe ich, daß er tatsächlich etwas wie »Knickerbocker,« trägt.): »Ich, der einzige Sohn, der den Krieg,überlebt hat, der einzige ein bißchen reich und, na ja, mächtig,Gewordene, verdanke das vor allem  dem Umstand, daß ich,mich von unserer Haus‑ und Sippensprache, der vermaledeiten,,losgesagt habe. Ja, verdammt soll sie sein, diese Sprache, die dem Benjamin und dem Gregor da, dem einen im hintersten,Rußland, dem andern gleich hier auf der vermaledeiten,verbleiten Saualpe, das Leben geraubt hat, unserer Mutter das, Herz zerbrochen hat, unserem Vater den Hut über die Augen,,die Ohren und dann auch noch den Mund gedrückt hat, mit,dem Schweißband als Selbstknebel, die Sprache, die meiner,Schwester Ursula ihren Liebsten, ihren Einzigen, ihren Bräutigam,abspenstig gemacht hat, noch bevor die Liebe spruchreif,,geschweige denn hautnah werden konnte – nur, wie sagst,,du, ›gebräutelt‹ hat der Mann, gebräutelt habt ihr beide, nicht,wahr, jahrelang, bis daß deine Sprache euch geschieden hat,,dein Bräutigam sich verzupft hat – ausgebräutelt –, und du,alleingeblieben bist, Schwester, mit deiner Sprache, deinem,Ersatzbräutigam.« (Sie hat, wenn ich recht gehört habe, eingeworfen:,»Nein, dem wahren!«) »Und verflucht soll sie sein,,unsere Sprache« – er hat sich jäh an mich gewendet – »die,,gesprochen von ihr, meiner Lieblingsschwester hier, oder,,wenn du willst, deine, na ja, warum nicht, Mutter, sie kann,ja nichts dafür, Frau ist Frau, verflucht sei sie, unsere Sprache,,die, gesprochen von meinem darling, meinem Darling,Clementine, in den Ohren nicht bloß der Dorf‑, sondern,auch sämtlicher Landmannschaften das Begehren geweckt,hat, so daß ein jeder, der hörte, wie die da, speziell sie, unsere,Sprache sprach, sie, die da, auf der Stelle haben wollte.,Seltsam übrigens, wie eine gewisse Sprache und eine gewisse,Art, sie zu sprechen, einen auf die Sprünge bringen kann,,habe ich’s nicht am eigenen Leib dann erfahren, als ich bei,dem Ausgang in Narvik die Lappländerin reden hörte, gar,nicht zu mir, weit weg, am anderen Ende der Straße, und im,selben Moment hier an meiner Rippe, daß es mich buchstäblich,überrieselt hat –, bloß daß derjenige welcher, der mein,Sweetheart dann heimgeführt bzw. geschnappt hat, dein Vater,war – mehr brauche ich dazu nicht zu sagen –, und wie,der Vater, so der Sohn, mehr ist darüber nicht zu sagen.«,,Allgemeines Innehalten wieder. Die Großeltern haben sich,danach auf die Bank in der Heidesteppe oder im »Jaunfeld«,gesetzt, mit ihrem halbwüchsigen jüngsten Sohn in der Mitte.,Und dann ist die von mir als ältere Schwester der Mutter,angeredete und »Ursula« genannte düstere, auch düster gekleidete,junge Frau zu Wort gekommen: »Alle wart ihr gegen,mich, von klein auf. Nie habe ich meinen Platz bei euch,gefunden. Bei keinem Spiel habt ihr mich mitspielen lassen.,Und wenn, dann habt ihr mich bei der ersten Gelegenheit,ausgelacht. Besonders du, Schwester: Ah, wie du mich auslachen,konntest. Alles ist mir vergangen bei deinem Auslachen,,vergangen, alles. Und wenn ich mich im Abort eingesperrt,habe, hast du vor der Tür, der mit dem Herzen, herzlos weitergelacht.,Herzlos, herzlos. So bin ich vor euch davongelaufen,in den Wald, aber der Wald, speziell unser finsterer,Fichtenwald, hat mir nie gutgetan. Genauso finster wie er bin,ich aus ihm zurückgekommen, in euren Augen die Spielverderberin.,Dabei glaubte ich lange an das Glück, gerade an,das meinige, und konnte mir nichts Schöneres vorstellen, als,mitzuspielen, mit euch, mit meiner Familie. Nur waren da,alle Rollen besetzt, und still dabeisitzen, wie unsere Mutter,,kam für mich nicht in Frage. Ich wollte mittendrin sein und,mich einmischen, einmischen, mich. Warum bloß? So war es,gedacht, ja, so gedacht war es. Folglich bin ich wohl wirklich,zu der verkümmert, als die ihr mich von klein auf  gesehen,habt, zu der Person, die in unserer Gegend ›der ledige Un,wille‹ geheißen wird, eine, die die anderen spüren läßt, daß,sie nicht geliebt wird. Ja, niemand hat je mich geliebt, auch,die Mutter nicht. Ich habe ihr bloß von meiner Geburt an,erbarmt. Aber was habe ich vom Erbarmen? Ich spucke darauf.,Euer Auslachen und das Erbarmen haben mich gleich,nach der Schulzeit aus dem Haus gejagt, und ich habe bis,zum Krieg als eine, für die im Haus kein Platz war, als Magd,in der Fremde gelebt, wie das seinerzeit eben für uns Aushäusige,üblich war. Und mitten im Frieden, den ihr anderen,so himmlisch gefunden habt, nicht  wahr, Gregor, du Obstbauer,,so biblisch, waren meine Gedanken schon längst im,Krieg. Im Krieg, so habe ich gedacht, werde ich endlich meinen,Platz finden. Im Krieg werde ich geliebt werden. Und so,ist es dann ja auch gekommen? Wenn ich das nur wüßte. Im,Haus waren zwar von einem Tag auf den andern drei Plätze,frei, und man hieß mich willkommen, liebevoll, wie mir vorkam,,sogar du, Schwester. Aber … aber … Früher einmal,war noch am ehesten mein Platz im Stall bei den Kühen und,Pferden gewesen, oder in deinem Obstgarten, Gregor, gelegentlich.,Aber jetzt: nirgends mehr. Vielleicht stimmt er also,doch, der andere Spruch aus der Gegend: Einen Platz findet,nur, wer ihn selber mitbringt? Habe ich vielleicht nie das,,wie soll ich sagen, Platzhaben verkörpert? Und bin vielleicht,gerade so für euch zur Spielverderberin geworden, schlimmer,,zur Unglücksstifterin? Nicht ihr habt mir also keinen,Platz gelassen, sondern ich bin schon platzlos geboren, und,,demgemäß auf Krieg aus, auf Welt‑ wie Familienkrieg? Erbarmen,,Mutter. Hast du mir nicht erzählt, daß in unserer,Sprache hier ›Mutterleib‹ und ›Erbarmen‹ dieselbe Wurzel,haben?«,Schon während dieser wohl familienüblichen Suada hat ihre,bis dahin vollkommen still neben Mann und »Benjamin« auf,der Bank in der Heide sitzende Mutter aus ihrer Feiertagstasche,,oder was das ist, das Strickzeug, Wolle und Stricknadel,,umständlich und auffällig geräuschvoll hervorgekramt,und an einem bereits begonnenen Strumpf, oder was, weiterzustricken,sich angeschickt. Ihr Mann, mein Großvater,,hat, im Gegenzug, ein kariertes Feiertagstaschentuch, ein,eng zusammengefaltetes, aus der Innentasche seines Sonntagsrocks,geholt, es ebenso umständlich aufgefaltet, bis es in,seiner Beinahgeschirrtuchgröße prangte, und hat sich hineingeschneuzt.,Dazu hat er dann uns im Kreis eine seiner familienüblichen,Kurzgeschichten erzählt: »Lang, bevor ich eure,Mutter kennengelernt habe, lang vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg,,bin ich einmal von den Gendarmen für ein paar Stunden eingesperrt,worden, in den Gemeindekotter – für unsern Letzten, hier  erklärt: in das Arrestloch neben der Gendarmerie,,nein, nicht wegen Widerstands gegen die Staatsgewalt, wofür,wir sonst bekannt sind – ich muß dich leider enttäuschen.,Und zwar kam das so: Ich war damals schon ausgelernt als,Zimmermann, aber mit Frauen: nichts, und wieder nichts.,,Ich habe mich an keine herangetraut, was ja ein anderer Sippenzug,ist, mit gewissen Ausnahmen, dann allerdings heftigen,,siehe zum Beispiel den Valentin da, den Deftigen, nomen,est omen, den über die Gemeindegrenzen und über das,Jaunfeld hier im gesamten Kärntner Becken bekannten –,sagt man heute noch so? – Weiberer, der – so sagte man zu,meiner Zeit noch nicht – nichts anbrennen hat lassen und,kein Bett  hat kalt werden lassen, außer sein eigenes … Also:,Wie zu einer Frau kommen, ich, ich!, endlich? Damals habe,ich noch kaum deutsch gesprochen, wie fast alle vom Land,hier, Schule? gefehlt – entschuldigt,  unentschuldigt. Ein bißchen,Deutsch beigebracht hat mir zuerst ein Wanderzimmermann,,aus Bremen, oder Hamburg, oder Eckernförde,,oder wie die Löcher dort im Norden halt heißen, und dem,sind unsere Mädchen nur so zugelaufen und zugefallen, nicht,wahr. Warum bloß? Die einen von uns meinten, wegen seiner,besonderen Zimmermannstracht, hinter der die girlies eben,nicht Johnny Cash oder Graham Nash vermuteten, sondern,,operettenvernarrt, wie sie waren – so war das damals,noch –, einen verkleideten Zaren, oder wenigstens einen seiner,Matrosen. Und die andern: Weil er deutsch sprach. Hat,nicht auch deiner Mutter dann so ein Deutschsprecher den,slawischen Kopf verdreht, mon petit fils, moj vnuk, mu engene,,mi nieto? Hochdeutsch sprechen hat bis weit in den,Zweiten Weltkrieg hinein in unserer Gegend nicht bloß,die Haus‑ und Hoftore geöffnet. Wer rein deutsch sprach,,,versprach, ein Herr zu sein. Deutsch, das war damals der,Magnetpol für die hiesigen Weiberleut. Aber wie es kam, daß,euer Vater als Junger damals in den Kotter gesperrt wurde?,Es war ein Mittwoch – ich weiß nicht, warum ich euch mit,dem Wochentag behellige –, es war der Markttag in Völkermarkt,,oder Bleiburg, oder wo. Und verhaftet bin ich worden,,weil ich mir dort an einem bestimmten Stand Rindsaugen,gekauft habe, einen ganzen Kübel voll, der da angeboten,wurde, zum Rindssuppekochen, so war das damals, und weil,ich mit diesen Augen, ganz schön glitschig waren die, nicht,wenige sind mir aus der Hand geglitscht, dann quer durch die, Stadt die jungen Frauen, auch einige nicht so junge, beworfen,habe – dabei habe ich die Augen nicht einmal geschmissen,,die Mädchen schon gar nicht bombardiert, sie denen eher zugeworfen,– zugedacht, zart, fast wie Rosen, na ja, noch dazu,wie Rosen ohne Dornen, unschuldig. Und unschuldig war ich,ja wirklich. Denn was hatte mir der deutsche Zimmermann,in meiner Frauennot geraten? –«,Hier hat den Erzähler endlich die düstere seiner zwei Töchter,unterbrochen: »Vater, die Geschichte hast du uns schon tausendundeinmal,erzählt, nur daß der Augenwerfer immer ein,anderer war, der Dorftrottel, der Hausstock des Nachbarn,oder sonstwer. Vater, warum willst du seit jeher ablenken?,Warum kannst du nicht einmal ernst sein? Sind wir nicht letzten,Endes fast alle verlorengegangen, nicht nur wir, sondern...



I came into contact with Lothar Struck  who conducts the "begleitschreiben" blog the successor to quite some years ago now when he contacted me on seeing a comment I had left at at something about Handke  in Die Zeit and we then did on on-line interview about Handke's engagement in matters Yugoslav defense of the Serbs  being made entirely culpable for the crimes committed during the disintegration of Yugoslavia, a matter that I had given considerable thought to. This interview has not made the transfer of Struck's blog from two day net to his newest electronic incarnation. Initially, it was a pleasure to be in touch with someone who knew Handke's work and who appreciated it, otherwise I would not write this post mortem to a relationship that foundered because Struck ultimately is an adoring fan who a lacks the element of critique in is appreciation, among other failures of discernment. In other words, Struck, who has even assumed the pseudonym Gregor Keuschnig  Handke's own humorous self-appellation as of A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING and  also the protagonist of MY ONE YEAR IN THE NO-MAN'S BAY, is such a one to whom the "real" Keuschnig says in NO-MAN'S BAY, when he comes adoring, "I am not the one." As such, this adoration in someone who is not devoid of critical judgment at other times does no real harm, although it can be said that such adoration then fails to foster understanding. And I am not talking about fine points here. Nor is Struck all that sensitive or stellar a reader. To start with a few current posting of his, both at Glanz & Elend, where Struck writes both under the pseudonym and under his own name:


Let  me give a few instances. Lothar does a deceptively nice job, more thorough an useful than any of the paid reviewers who may earn a few Euros but are not allowed the space to do a proper job, and thus become quite Slick - Weinzierl, Pilz, et al -  in describing the opening scene of IMMER NOCH STURM Here 

Ein Ich-Erzähler sitzt auf einer Bank auf einer Wiese, in der Heide, im Jaunfeld. Ein Apfelbäumchen behängt mit etwa 99 Äpfeln gibt ihm Schutz und er kommt ins Phantasieren, ins Heraufbeschwören. Aufmarsch der Vorfahren. Sie erscheinen ihm - oder er lässt sie erscheinen? Er ist der einzige, der sie noch träumt: Nicht ich lasse euch nicht in Ruhe. Es läßt mich nicht in Ruhe, nicht ruhen. Ihr laßt mich nicht in Ruhe. Im Laufe der Erzählung (oder ist ein Drama?) frischt der Wind auf, kommt von vorne, von hinten und von oben, wird zum Sturm (zum Erinnerungssturm sowieso). Und die Landschaft, die Kindsheimat, nein: die Bleibe, dieses wiedergeholte Kärnten verändert sich im Laufe dieser Ahnen-Epiphanien. Das ist mehr als nur die Suche nach den eigenen Wurzeln. Vielleicht ist "Immer noch Sturm" das wirkliche Nachtbuch Peter Handkes (und das vor wenigen Wochen erschienene ist nur ein Präludium).

Whereupon Struck makes the kind of supposition that he cannot tell the difference between Handke’s nighttime burps [which would be interested if he had written down the dreams, not to mention attempt analyses] and a throughly composed major work in five act. Being generous to such a fanzine statement - hear hear! = we will let it pass until we come on Struck’s statement: 

Fiktionalisierungen des Autobiographischen

Gewiss - der Ich-Erzähler, der dem-Wind-Ausgesetzte und Sturm-Erzeugende, ist Peter Handke. 

... a claim one can only make if one knows who Peter Handke is, who himself has said that the “I”, the “ich” in STURM is a fictional “I.” If we understand the difference between the fictional “I”, here, I suggest we will ACTUALLY have a major clue as to the other fictional personae Handke has been adopting since forever, a matter in which he has become better and stronger and more sophisticated over these many years. Now if Struck had said “the entire play is Peter Handke’s self, the Peter Handke of the permanent autistic position, who loves himself more than anyone in the world, including Handke who loves to lie and invent and to manicure his image and exhibit himself and suppress certain unpleasant featues and matters and is a coy jongleur” - with that I would not argue, that would be, is a beginning.. The “I” here is first of all the puppet in the hands of our puppeteer from Chaville - if Handke had merely wanted to celebrate his ancestors, he might have written them a long letter. 

 As Struck a while later admits: 

Bis auf die Tatsache, dass die junge Mutter mit ihrem Vaterlosen Kärnten verlassen hatte, entfernt sich Handke von der realen Geschichte seiner Familie immer mehr. 

at which latest point it might have occurred to Struck that what matters most to Handke, and as it ought to, and did, is the form, the composition, the play. Struck also misses the lie that Handke introduces by having a woman who is married to Bruno Handke, leave the Carinthian precincts to find the father of a child now two years old. Both Scott Abbbott and I address and speculate on the problematics that also enter the form and “life" of the play at that point in extenso at:

Struck also errs, significantly, when he writes

“Die historischen Begebenheiten erläutert Handke nicht. for what are the passages written in “Klartext” but oddly distorted glosses of the history of Austria and Carinthia since 1936 to the present. Struck is also some degrees off when he writes: Wer eine Art Verklärung oder gar Heroisierung des Kärntner Widerstands erwartet hatte, geht fehl. Kein Superlativ. Kein Heldentum; das brechtsche Pathos ist Handke zuwider, auch wenn es für eine "gute Sache" wäre. Und dennoch: Fast immer reden, deklamieren, handeln die Figuren dialektisch, zweifelnd, schwankend. Diese Widerständler waren gespalten ob ihres Tuns und auch sie waren vom Krieg und dessen merkwürdiger Regeln geprägt, ja: verdorben. Sie sahen ihren Widerstand als schiere Notwendigkeit.

I would disagree, Act IV, the Partisanen Section, struck both Scott Abbott and me as stylized Agit-Prop, the air went out of the  piece and I speculate about the reasons for that at length at:

Handke used to be pathos-ridden, during his Slow Homecoming period, especially in Nova’s epic speech at the end of Walk about the Villages, so pathos drenched there’s scarcely a drop of oxygen left in her lungs. What is pathos: the unattainability of the ideal. Parzifal keeps seeking and we admire him for it, he might be a Prussian about it, and his steel might glint but that is all. A bit more pathos - a la Brecht’s Die Massnahme - ,I hold, might actually have served the Partisan Gregor/ Jonatan well when he becomes an executioner! Nor is there any need to play Handke and Brecht off against each other, from whom Handke has learned and taken quite a bit over the years.

I would also question Struck’s estimate that STURM is a piece of WELT THEATER [World Theater], perhaps it is just the greatest Heimats Stueck  ever written. To be World Theater STURM would need to have the dimensions of KING LEAR or END GAME - that is, it would have to be taken in the direction it itself point to at the end with its mention of the Alaskan Indians. Otherwise, with its basic notion that our “imagoes” constitute our self, could not be sounder. 

 Nonetheless, Struck’s review is one of the few that deserve to be read twice. 



  1. My impression, as "director" of STURM on re-reading the first
    28 pages, not quite the whole of Act I, are the following: I would assume an intelligent and patient audience that is receptive to long-paced story telling, and therefore I would only cut the following passage on page 10, second # about ten lines, until te "I" starts to speak again: "There you are, you ancestors... " because what he is describing is also acted out. And a few other like it. But not consistently, at times I think it is useful to have articulated what the audience also sees as happening. Didacticly speaking, too.

    On re-reading from this perspective I noticed that the "I"
    is not entirely the director of the proceedings, some matters, at time te ancestors step forth and speak, and surprise him, come upon him out of the nowhere within the state of mind he finds himself in. Yes, how trance-like ought the "I" be, how deeply lost in thought while he inzeniert? I already mentioned in the initial post on "the director's way" of reading the text" that at the end of Act I , the "I" is suddenly older than the beings he has called out of the grave! Masks! There is that magnificent passage in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES about "leaf masks" trough which the ancestors peer, greet the prodigal Gregor there.
    The ultimate director is Peter Handke who is employing the "I" also as a filter who reacts, is surprised.

    Then it occurred to me to question what to do with all those directions and descriptions that the "I" gives. I think readers will find them quite wonderful and clarifying, though I guess, you, Scott, didn't at first; but an audience does not need to be told over and over again what it sees happening, thus I would use them sparingly, e.g. and for effect when

    Another matter I noticed on re-reading this section was how well drawn Ursula is, or rather how well she describes herself, in considerable complexity, of the kind that that side, of being the unaccepted outsider,
    that exists at least as a fear in everyone [?] will be comprehended and sympathized with. Ursula goes away from home, if we think of Handke's family constellation, she is the invented middle sister, not his "blut junge" mother, Handke mixes things of himself and his real family in, but re-attributes qualities and actual occurrences within a fiction. Thus in some sense all of these selves, these elves are Peter Handke including what his imagination produces!

    Later in the play there is that delightful section where he is making fun of himself as the "wonder boy", it's delicious, who is destined to be ...."a buch halter" a pun whose equivalent is not at once on the tip of this tongue. "account books" I imagine is the direction in which one might look.

    One matter that keeps cropping into mind is one of the two quotes that precede the text of WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES: The Nietzsche one, from Ecce Homo about how "lightly" the way villagers talk, something that really not the case except at the very end there in the alternate discourse. And here "light" is rare too, but in evidence during the delightfully playful sections, the first instance would be the way Valentin describes himself on page 11 ctd. Yes, I can imagine all of his lighter, so it won't be as essayistic. About ten years ago when I decided to give some thought where theater might go if it didn't want to be stuck in its forever naturalism was that the time for verse had come again. I think one German playwright, Ostermaier {?} has taken that direction. I considered translating him, but matters are too damned hopeless in this country to have taken another futile cause.

  2. It is important to note that there are several reviews [among the dozen +] that touch on the production at the revista-of-reviews site that is the collector for those matters:

    Handke's close friend at Die Welt devastates the production as does Stadelmaier in the F.A.Z. and Polz in the Neue Zuricher - and: they all love the play!
    The only review that takes a more differentiated view is the one in the Neue Deutschland, which gives us some idea of how the different actors tackle the subject. The various Austrian papers - Handke has become a kind of National Treasure, as is the Salzburg Festival and off hand I recall nothing memorable among the hosannas, also for the production; yes there are a few that don't chime in. So I look forward to comments by anyone who has seen the production and who is not beholden but to his own view of the matter. We may have to wait until the Theater Heute review comes in their next issue.

    Michael, I love the observation that "ich" changes ages and also awareness. I think that fits really well with my thought that he changes from being a stammerer (this is often repeated) to being a producer of Klartext and back. A person who changes, changes drastically with experience and with new contexts is a real person.

    In an email, you wrote the following: "BUT FOR CHAPTER III. which continues to puzzle me since our man is not a naif! is he actually putting the PARTISANEN down with that kind of representation???"

    That's exactly what I've been trying to figure out all along. And I think the answer is surely yes.

    And if you see this as a depiction of the beloved Slovenes taking on the very rhetorical habits employed by their oppressors, you have a wonderfully dialectical play.

    So there's one example of the dialectical play I've been trying to argue for. And your note of the changing "ich" may well be another.

    And perhaps that series of "and"s I pointed to earlier is yet another.

    And also those opening questions that end in periods, creating a set of questions in the reader's mind.
    August 25, 2011 7:49 PM
    Scott Abbott said...
    And the poor Adorno -- perhaps that was indeed a reference to the theoretician of the revolt who was then mocked by topless women who accused him of being too theoretical.

    In my case, I would call him poor Theodore because of his attack on jazz.
    August 25, 2011 7:51 PM
    Scott Abbott said...
    finally tonight, I've never directed a play. And I understand prose better than drama. But I very much like your thinking like a director. It gets at my initial response to the play -- which was HOW THE HELL COULD THIS BE PLAYED!
    August 25, 2011 7:53 PM

  4. If you go to page 25, the paragraph on the bottom with just three lines "An dieser
    Stelle meiner Zeitreise..." Not the sort of thing that registers profoundly until
    you look at the piece from the point of directing and designing the production
    something that nearly always goes hand in hand. The Salzburg production
    had this rain of leaves, one set, and is very earthbound it appears [verbally of course it rises at time very high, but the above line reminds me of another line in WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, the one about "the spirit hovering just above the surface... space craft hoaver in," [dont have copy of the book, gave my last one away] it's magic time, fairy tale dream time. The "I" is in in space cadet mode with his memory:and then Benjamin steps forth, in a different production he might float in is what I mean, and
    gives one of Handke's patented but loveliest series: and on nausea! which Handke suffered
    from for the simple reason that he is hyper-sensitive and lacks the function
    to modulate that excess.... besides, there used to be all that anxiety, and there may still be. Besides being incredibly amusing, at least to me, it's also Handke making fun of himself, but lightl for once, without self-recrimination, and without denial.
    A speech that is reminiscent of THE ART OF ASKING where the main character refuses the usual forms of querying. Here, Benjamin is presented is playin as ultra naif.

  5. ". . . . erkenntlich höchstens an den Handzeichen, mit denen wir einander noch zuwinken."

    This is how the play ends. What gestures or waves or signs would a director incorporate here (and "incorporate" is exactly what would happen, with the signs becoming physical)?

    I can imagine a whole set of gestures, and not all of them pretty. The play could be recapitulated here, various relationships replayed, both violent and tender.

  6. I looked very carefully over ACT ONE once more and find it one of the most beautiful sequences Handke has written for the theater. In the theater he has a social sense, otherwise so lacking
    in these prose self manifestations. What Stadelmaier in the FAZ wrote, that it [S. doesnt differentiate between the various acts, i.e. does not address the problematic THIRD ACT PARTISANEN AGIT-PROP] is written with Handke heart-blood is the case. Deep fondness underlies ALL of them.... the villagers of WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGERS have come to life, rounded even with having typical qualities that identify them: Ursula's out of-placeness, Valentin's eroticism, Benjamin's nausea and so on.
    Now this is a work that is worthy of the Nobel Prize in every sense in which that prize is given. Boy, is this tough to bring off without falling into all the usual sentimental traps.

    I noticed also that the "I" narrator introduces the PARTISANEN business as having occurred in the past - a kind of plus-quam-perfect treatment, even while moving forward to the eventual telling demonstration of it in ACT III. Time present, time past, time future are very Eliottisk here, and the PLACE ! Places are the last dramas. So that needs to be made very distinct, memorably so. Just a bare stage with leaves trickling down as in the Salzburg production??? I will now carefully re-read Act II. Eventually, in a few days I will re-read from back to front! That is always a test also of one's own memory.

    Scott just made the above comment about the gestures at the end.
    I will give that some thought once I work my way through Act V. once more.

  7. Michael, you repeatedly emphasize the time aspects of the play -- some of which would make for a character having to wear a mask or be otherwise transformed.

    At the end of act 1 the "ich" is aged (ein Bejahrter) and is confronted by his young mother. That could be quite dramatic on stage.

    I'm interested in how the act ends (I've written a bit about this before, about the fact that the language of his family will always partially determine who he is).

    In the context of the play and of playing the play, the mother's final words here jump out: Und so dein Spiel, so steht dir frei zu spielen. Du hast im übrigen keine Wahl, es ist dein einziges Spiel, seit jeher, dein einziger Bauplan. Bleib bei uns, Sohn. / And thus your play, you are free to play. By the way, you have no choice, it is your only play, from the beginning, your only blueprint. Stay with us, son.

    All the world's a stage. The stage is all the world. Playing = living. Living = playing. And as "ich" plays, as he directs the play, as he summons and evokes the family members who love and castigate and mislead him, he is only summoning and evoking himself.

    Who is he? His own personal mongrel version of his family.

    As director, I'd make sure his costumes both echoed and diverged from those of his family members.

    Finally, you waxed rhapsodic about the first act. I too, as I read and reread, find the warps and woofs of this text most intriguing and troubling and thus satisfying.


    Let me first address Scott's above comments and queries before posting my director's thoughts on Act II.
    Sure, if genetically we are the sum of the dominant genes, spittually [int. mis-sp.] we are the sum of the significant figures of our childhood, but also of their displacements, and of the tales spun around them; that is, of our fantasies. You will see that in the chapter of my IDYLLIC YEARS entitled THE FIRST SCREEN MEMORY where at the instance of a psychological catastrophe you also see the "me" move his love for his father to his grandfather, not so different from Handke in some ways, no matter that the father/ grandfather constellation is not the same. No Bruno, no Herr Schoenemann, a real father but a father whom the mother was disappointed in, he was no replacement for her own father. Our selves are and its collection of elves is who we are!
    The "ich" of this play is not Peter Handke, he's half of Peter Handke since the "ich's" father does not appear! He only exists as the mother's love of her life, which love was displaced foisted on her love-child, also in the play, which does not explain Handke's genius but his supreme confidence in his art, and also as a womanizer! So in many respects the "ich" is the mongrel of those closest to him, of those he modeled himself after, Gregor the horticulturalist, Handke's assumption, internalization of his grandfather, which you can see in THE REPETITION is I don't think addressed here. Gregor and his BOOK, as I have known for many years, this heirloom of a book, are amazing motives for Handke becoming a writer. And what fructifying work he has done in literature! I too have had ancestors walk forth, I think I sent you the story, in which I tried to put the reader into the same kind of state of mind as the opening of GOALIE does, dissociated.
    In my case, the Alvenslebens walk back to the time that they were settled around Charlesmagne's time across the Elbe, to defend against the incursion of the Slavs! All of which is left in that region happen to be Peter's beloved SORBEN! But walk and fight they do and are wild for a thousand years, and a bit of that entered me, really entirely via my mother telling me stories when I was very young, yes and my grandfather Werner von Alvensleben being so amazingly significant to me. A man who survived four concentration camps, and who made fun of the Kapos at the very end, and who was laughing again within two weeks of being liberated from Buchenwald. You will have your past to draw on, terrible to have no past at all! Something you see so often in this so a-historical minded gnat minded country.

  9. WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES last direction is "play on."
    "Play the game." Not a direction Handke, personally, has always been able to follow, but in most of his work.
    There are numerous instances where the "ich" is older than his antecedents in the first two acts where they appear younger,
    first as they were in 1936, then in 1942-44.
    ACT II begins with the "ich" recalling being called back, not to leave, by his mother as the end of ACT ONE. NOw he recounts instances of where they appear to him and transformations that occur at those moments: a table turns into an altar, a war victim appears on T.V. the "i" thinks of the youngest of the brother, Benjamin who died during WW II. Pg. 44-45.
    Especially if you take the view that this is a dream play, that it is an imagining, and imagination is love, no love, no imagination, you could make the whole thing less earthbound,
    have a kind of second stage hover above the main stage, or - since folks are so literal-mindededly fascinated by images of the brain and brain imagery, if you had the money you'd have a brain globe as the stage in which all this transpired! ...The space ship element i mentioned previously, and introduce filmic elements at those moments on p. 44-45, This would also be a relief to the audience having to follow the speaker: it looks as though Gotcheff had the actors act out a lot of merely verbal struggles and show of affection, good: but for a director it becomes a question of too much and too little, and there is a lot of dancing and impersonation in Act II, both the mother and her sister impersonate the brothers who are off to war. and then the Grandparents arrive and via two letters Benjamin's existence in the far north in the taiga is recounted, and then his death. The first two acts are as perfect as they need to be.
    There is also a fair amount about the kind of folk plays the country folk used to put on! They had their folk culture! This is also the ultimate ultra sophisticated yet firmly grounded "folk play" - even the "second Viennese School" of composers, you find a lot of Austrian folk melodies being used!

  10. Peter's family.

    Your Alvenslebens.

    And my Mormon pioneer ancestors, whose stories (for better and worse) are what I'm made of. Here's my mother's telling of the story of her great great grandmother:

    Maria Jackson Normington Parker was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England. At the age of four years she commenced working in a factory and had little, or no, opportunity for schooling. Her parents were good, honorable people. . . .

    At last, on July 28, 1856, the Martin Handcart Company started westward from Iowa City. Fort Laramie was reached eight weeks later. Thus far the journey had not been more fatiguing than might have been expected, but with brave hearts they traveled on, often singing:
    For some must push, and some must pull,
    As we go marching up the hill,
    And merrily on the way we go
    Until we reach the Valley, O.

    Soon after leaving Fort Laramie it became necessary to cut down the rations. The pound of flour was reduced to ¾ of a pound, and after to 2 a pound, and still later to something less, or nothing at all. Still the company toiled cheerfully on through the Black Hills country.
    About this time, the baby boy, one and a half years old, died, and grandmother was permitted to ride one half day with her dead child, until the company stopped and it could be buried. Soon after, a new baby was born to her which also died.
    On the morning of October 19 the beds of the company were covered with four inches of snow. The storm continued for several days until the snow was 15 inches deep on the level. But still they struggled on, strong in their faith in the glorious gospel, and their hopes for a new life in Zion.
    It was about this time when cholera visited the starved, suffering camp, and one night Grandpa Normington and sixteen others died and were buried in the same grave.
    While still in England Grandma had been at a meeting when a person was speaking in tongues, and the interpretation given was that Brother James Bleak would go to Zion in the Handcart Company and would arrive in peace and safety. Brother Bleak became so very ill with cholera that they thought he was dying, and since the train must move on, they wrapped him in a blanket and left him to die on the prairie, thinking it would be but a very short time. That evening when they camped for the night Grandma Maria went to the Bleak camp and asked where Brother Bleak was. His wife told her he was left back on the trail, where he would die in a very short time. Grandma told Sister Bleak she should not have permitted him to be left, and told her of the promise by the gift of tongues that he should reach Zion in peace and safety. She then took her handcart and went back on the trail until she found him and brought him back to the camp and helped bring him back to health. Brother Bleak did a very wonderful work after reaching Zion. He was secretary to President Brigham Young. He also married three other wives.

    Grandma walked until her feet were so terribly frozen and sore she could walk no more. Then she crawled along on her hands and knees, and when her hands were so frozen she could use them no more, she went on her knees and elbows, until even after many years, at the time of her death, there were great scars on her knees and elbows from this awful experience. She remembered nothing of the last part of the journey.

  11. Well well well, I'd take you into the Sierra Maestre with me my friend, although you sure do have a valley that is as godly as one would want!

    I got only a whiff of it via my mother - what would I have been like if I'd been a fullblooded Alvensleben Einsiedel as my mother's siblings were! My father who was a businessman had a Danish dentist in Altona/ Hamburg a once Danish settlement for a father, whose line however are generations of Danish pastors in Odensee, Denmark. Marrying such a highborn lady with oh so many ancestors he put up a set of copper engravings of Danish pastors along the long stairway... which my mother, with a smile, confided were Roloffs all right, but not from his line. I also had what is called a "negative role model", my mother's brother Werner Jr. and all I do is provide the link to the cover of book written about him.

    If I had known in 1960 when I was adventuring in Alaska and thinking of other adventures that he ran the biggest Safari outfit in Africa, Safarilanda, in Mozambique, I am sure I would have joined him. Instead, inexplicably I was seized, but really SEIZED by the resolution to follow THE WAY of old Ezra's ABC of reading. A friend, a Swede from Minnesota, whom I had befriended on the forest fire lines, I recall his awed reaction, to my seizure.

    To get back to the subject of our discussion: the ABSENCE OF THE FATHER looms large in STURM. It indicates unsettled relationship, also intra-psychically to that subject. The real father, a bank employee, a Nazi as of 1933, Malte Herwig found that out, and claims that that makes him an opportunist, a "March Hare" as they were called, the converters to the party. Perhaps. Perhaps he just wanted to play it safe. He took life long interest in his little bastard child back thee in Carinthia. Handke found out about him when he didn't believe any longer that Bruno Handke, the name-giving violently raping and beating stepfather, husband of his beloved mother, was his father. Handke lied about post graduation trip in SORROW BEYOND DREAMS - what else did he lie about there? - that trip was a complete family affair. Herr Schoenemann never expressed anxiety that he and his son might become known as a gay couple. Handke has been on a father search, a productive one for a long time: "I want to be someone like somebody else was once." "I am the new Kafka" [1966] "I am the new Goethe" [1993] . He makes fun of his being a "bankert" [bastard child], yet he has been engaged in manicuring his image, and although that too has had fine consequences, for his art, in other respects it can be said not to have. What is missing in the play is who that "i" is completely! That is a big gap, it only shows the attractive acceptable sides of Peter Handke! It fails to address those aspect that he absorbed during his ten year exposure to Bruno Handke.

  12. I re-read ACT III this afternoon, and then went
    for a walk through my "prarie"
    and the following thoughts occurred with regard to Part
    III. As a director, I think I saw one very short section
    one might want to cut. The dialogue between the brothers
    and between the sisters, and between the sisters and brothers
    are all very short, Handke's stylized dialogue, who
    refuses to write naturalistic dialogue. And all that is
    fine, and I really like that Gregor-Jonatan
    instead of following Ursula-Snowqueen into the maquis
    decides to take one more long roundabout to think his
    decision over, or whatever. Gregor pushed the pram,
    baby cart back and forth, Handke's wishes for father,
    his uncle, the horticulturalist who receives the nom der guerre
    of an apple. Valentin the Westerner even suggest American
    apple names! The act contains a lot of lovely sequences.
    It takes place in the year 1944, although it hearks back
    to 1942, the year of Handke's conception and birth.
    There is a lot of berating of the bastard child's mother
    for having slept with a German soldier. At the end she
    goes off to Germany to look for the father, as Maria Sivec
    did to rejoin her husband, Handke's stepfather.

    Something that has puzzled me for some years is the extent
    to which illegitimate children were frowned on among
    Carinthian Slovenian country folk. Perhaps Fabian
    will be able to answer that, or one or the other of my Carinthian
    friends, also on face book. In some rural communities
    an illegitimate pregnancy is welcomed, because it signifies
    that the woman is fertile, marriageable, able to provide
    not only successors but field laborers. Judging by the
    the problem the mother's illegitimate pregnancy is for
    this clan, perhaps that is not the case among the Slovene
    country folk. However, her going off to Germany to search
    for him, and two years after the birth of the child:
    why have it in the play, t'would not be typical,
    not two years after. Why not put in: he was married, he
    has other children [a matter I don't recall Malte dwelling
    on in his MEISTER DER DAEMMERUNG, although he did great
    work in unearthing the correspondence between Herr Schoeneherr
    and his son Peter Handke.]

    The attempt to make the play hoe
    a parallel to Handke's life, and then diverge from it
    at crucial moments, creates some dramatic problematics
    here. It may very well have been the case that Maria Sivec
    married Bruno Handke because she needed a husband for her baby,
    he appears to have been quite good looking, and he can't
    have been [?] the horror he turned out to be when she rejoined
    him in Berlin in 1944, a wounded soldier, back from the front,
    alcoholic, already living with another woman.

    Upon rereading this Act III I am less troubled by Valentin's
    extolling of the "open West" than I was on the first go around.
    Will I be less troubled by the Agit-Prop of Act IV the second
    go around?
    michael roloff 7:15 PDT,

  13. I now feel easier with the stylization in act IV of the Fasanen/ Partisanen biz. The Slovene who uses the word "Fasanen" here does not appear to know that that was the appellation for over-decorated Nazi Bigwigs. However, I have more problems than before with what is called "Klartext" at the beginning of Act IV, which is anything but. Why does Handke suppress the Anschluss and not at least mention Austrian enthusiasm for it? Not to mention the theft of Jewish property, especially in Vienna. Calling it "forced" here at the beginning of Act IV. Does the now "staatstragende" wonder-poet not want to offend the Obrigkeiten? Also, Austria's giving itself the airs after WW II of being a "victim" goes entirely unmentioned. Some "Klartext"! No wonder the "ich" claims that speaking in those terms makes him tired.

    Yes I think, Ursula/Snowchick's and Gregor/Appleboy Jonathan stylized presentation of their "Fasanen" life is as evocative as stylization can make it. So much for that for now.

    What, however, also bothers me more than ever is the mother going off to Germany to look for the father of her love child, and leaving the love child behind! The falsification of Handke's own origins would/ could have been avoided by picking an entirely typical family - however, Handke - the way he works I think - would not have felt intimately to the proceedings as he needs to for his art! for him to breathe self into it! So he ends in a quandary. The mother might have had a day job with the "svabi", as the Romans already called the Germans in a Region larger then Schwaben a couple of thousand years ago. Why does she need to be away at all? What dramatic purpose does that serve, except possibly to emphasize her love for the German? But here she is leaving two years after giving birth, and in the middle of a war! If she stayed, Gregor can still push that pram! The grandparents would not have had reason to feel quite as bereft, true. But the mother might have had reason not to join the "Fasanen" because she needs to take care of her "love child" , she might, however, have been presented, with a German lover, as being interestingly torn?? Between helping her sister Ursula and favorite brother... and ...?
    Handke does not really indicate that this German was a member of the Army.


    "Alas, one more long long note about Act IV of Handke's STURM.
    What is the flaw that ruins this piece for me? With such great first
    two acts, and a fine 3rd Act. At this point I have even made

    my peace with the stylization of the first two thirds of Act IV. If one were to introduce the photographs
    and filmic elements that the piece refers to
    this would be a wonderful section to do that.
    Old grainy WW II stuff, too.
    However, it is by page 124 when Gregor/Jonatan starts
    up with his "we have won speech"
    I feel embarrassed, this really is the crudest of AGIT PROP.

    You might say, to put it simply: by ACT IV it is clear
    that there is no Hamlet in this piece, or rather: no HAMLETINA.
    Is there a Lear left at the end, the end of ACT V?

    And how easily there might have been if Handke's character had
    not come into play. Old Ezra pointed out that artists ultimately
    live and die by their character. Our great virtuoso genius Peter
    Handke - we have come to praise Caesar, for all his gifts
    the ultimate inversion of a boulevard play

    especially for WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES
    which has ALL OF HANDKE IN IT
    for the sheer genius of THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER
    for a nearly endless supply of of lessons in how to write
    especially for the ending of CROSSING THE SIERRA DEL GREDOS
    for what Peter Strasser called Handke's
    for the latest novel DER GROSSE FALL.
    but also to point out
    some deep flaws, which he is old enough to face. There
    is all that "ich muss mich stellen", "sie soll sich ihm stellen"
    in the Saltworks novel KALI and in Morawische Nacht.
    He is such a jongleur, even coy.
    But he doesn't actually ever "face", he avoids,
    perhaps it is because the "Singer Naehmachine" refuses to answer,
    however the PsychoPhysiker does answer and he answers now.

    You will recall that wonderful scene where the "wonder child"
    the "little bastard" is admired in his crib in ACT III...
    like the CHRIST CHILD.
    THAT is IN the play!
    [is there any need for it aside self admiration
    of course now made in the now time worn
    form of humor, humor as defense!]

    It really is no wonder that Handke had that hugely swollen head,
    that was so in love with itself,
    what with that oversupply of narcissistic goodies
    as of intra-uterine. He actually writes about some of these matters
    as though he had been analyzed, not that one needs to be to have
    those memories of lying under a loving heart. But also a depressed

    heart that that had been abandoned by the love of its life.
    Thus Handke's anlehnende/ analclytic depression.
    That the mother merely hints at, an audience would
    never notice her equivocation. [END PART I OF AUG 30 POSTING]


    The "mother's signature", Dr. Bernard Bail's very major
    contribution to the armature of the Psycho-Physikers!

    Maria Sivec his mother provided herself with a husband for the
    the little bastard, who never was a bastard child. That husband was
    the name-giving Bruno Handke, a very good looking fellow when
    young. Maria had all that love in her, the love of her life would not
    leave his wife and children for her. She married a surrogate....
    who turned out to be a monster, perhaps the war and being wounded
    turned him into a monster, brought out the monstrousness in him.
    No one in Griffen it appears seems to have heard of divorce,
    of separation.
    As we now know she killed herself at the prospect of his return,
    in 1971, from a sanatorium.

    Not only the mother's but that of all significant figures to whom
    we are exposed, e.g. Bruno Handke, the man Maria Sivec

    married, as a surrogate, another German soldier, neither he

    nor Maria's marriage appear in the play. There is the flaw,
    the avoidance. Maria, married to a German soldier
    would be Hamletina, wouldn't she? Torn!
    And, does the "ich" change as it creates
    this mis en scene ad- but also inadvertently?

    I could tell you stories about myself, but this is not the place and time.

    How does all this enter this play and Act IV:
    it enters it in the following fashion
    Handke has his mother appear, there are these exchanges, first with her
    as a young country girl, then as a jazzed up city girl -
    Handke is writing drama,
    half-autobiographical recourse he takes,
    in sharp strong strokes, he gets the basics down, he knows his craft,
    The ground for the turn into the a PARTISANEN STUECK is also well
    though more subtly laid in the first three acts:
    after all, the "ich" is looking back,
    he has these time capsule views 1936, then 1942-44 - Handke regards
    his life in installments of seven year stretches - vide WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, the opening, also if you regard his entire oeuvre,
    it transpires in 7 year periodicities -

    and then all tension goes poof! The play becomes flat!

    Another go around with ACT V and then perhaps I/ we
    will be done.



  16. there are flat moments in the play for me as well; and you may have hit on why -- avoidance.

    but i'm unsettled a bit by the back and forth between Peter's life and what's going on in the play.

    it's there because there are aspects of his actual life brought into the play. and given that he has brought himself, in whatever fictional ways, into the play, then avoidance of parts of his own life might keep the play flat.

    but i keep asking if we're making a mistake if we're asking for a lear or hamlet. perhaps this is a different kind of play altogether. perhaps it's good on another level?

    you'll remember my being underwhelmed after the first reading. this can't possible be interesting on stage! i'm not sure i could sit through 5 hours of this! this is boring!

    and you'll remember how i started to warm to it as a text, as opposed to a play.

    so, where it goes flat as a play, are there factors that make it interesting as something else? right here where you're finding the most trouble?

    i'd look myself, but i'm at work and the semester has just begun and my book is at home.

  17. I thought you were kidding, Scott, when you mentioned that you suddenly had to hire someone because school was starting in two
    weeks and a faculty member had just quit. Here I don't think it starts for another two.

    Anyhoo. I had no real difficulty reading it as "drama to be read" novel, although I must say I am glad that I have read it twice, and certain sections thrice.
    Nor would I become impatient, as I did not during Antonioni films and the like, or reading THE REPETITION. I think
    the play plays on leisurely 'REPETITION' time, leisurely
    yet intense. The characters are exceedingly well delineated and firmly grounded in one or at most two qualities, as they
    need to be in a drama. That is craft and imagination working glove in hand. I of course have an advantage over you in
    having given so much thought to Handke's drama, but Richard
    Schechner who is willing to publish my monograph as a book doesn't have a thousand bucks for me to do the final. This entire Handke project is an unpaid for labor of
    love and auto-education.

    There is all kinds of conflict, between the siblings,
    between the qualities they exemplify, between the generations and between the Krautsm as I call them, and the Slobs, the darling
    Slovenes. Ursula/Snowchick even extolls the crude simple sloganeering and tracts that the Pheasants crave off in them
    thar Sierra Meastra: however, this play is not a call for
    the Carinthian Slovenes to take up arms against the Carinthian DoDo Krauts, Josef Winkler is doing that with marvelous
    tracts of his own: the city of Klagenfurtz spends about 10 million a year keeping up its soccer stadium but has not a library.
    Carinthia is one of the most truculently fascist provinces in all of Europe, if not THE most.

    Handke is being coy. He puts in his role model, the uncle Gregor, the horticulturalist, his mother, his grandfather, he simplifies them down to essentials
    and puts himself on stage and his - and here I agree with Stadelmaier of the FAZ - in heart-felt re-imagining,
    but as a play, that plays delightfully for the first three acts, he is an exhibitionist playwright. Then the
    play starts to get dead, he resorts to stylization,
    sees the need to quote a section from his own, also fairy tale play HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER.
    And then I seek for an explanation why that is so, and I ventured an answer. Perhaps the Singer Sowing machine will provide a better on. Now I will re-read ACT V
    for the third time, and see if I went off the deep end or need to qualify what I have said so far.


    What annoys me is the failure of
    the various reviewers of the production


    but one, Neues Deutschland,
    to give more than either a completely negative take
    -- Pilz {NZZ}, Weinzierl {Die Welt} & Stadelmaier {FAZ] --
    or by and large positive assessments, the Austrian papers
    and to do so with scarce mention of the various actors
    and how effective or not they were
    = again Neues Deutschland is the exception =
    and fail to address how the five different acts were done.
    Scott Abbot, my fellow blogger in this conversation about
    and I are especially puzzled by ACT IV, the PARTISANEN section
    and so of course wonder how the director Gotcheff
    handled it with its vestiges of Socialist Realism
    and Agit-Prop.
    Neues Deutchland at least gave some description
    of the several main actors.

    One may not think Brantley of the NY Times is the greatest
    thing that ever happened to reviewing but he at least provides a detailed description of various acts, at major productions, and what he thinks are strength and weaknesses. Not a one in the domain where Kraut grows has done anything of the kind.

    And the photos

    don't tell us anything but specific moments and the general atmosphere and mis en scene.
    A Final comment on Act V. is in the works and
    will be posted within a day.
    xx michael r.








    collection of photos of all Handke productions

  19. One more directors comment - in two parts, from me, Michael Roloff on Act V, that itself consists of five sections, and in a day or so a final note on the play as a whole.

    I- SEPT 1/ 2001
    ON ACT V [P. 134-166]

    a] One matter that becomes evident that made me reconsider my doubts about the "Agit-Propness" of ACT IV is that within the second movement
    in ACT V - that is subsequent to another long section of KLARTEXT [historical background and situating, ending on page 140] the
    dialogue between the "I" , who acts surprisingly grown up, and his Uncle Gregor, who has returned from the maquis, and first "plays" rhaphsodic about peace and how beautiful everything is back in the Slovenian part of Carinthia - that both the "I" and "Gregor" indicate that they are merely [?] playing roles, the "I" e.g. of a messenger - THAT IS, if the "agit prop" sections of ACT IV - Ursula/Snowchick and Gregor/Jonatan merely "played" AGIT PROP and then VICTORY I don't think anything of the effective evocation would be lost, in that kind of "as if", but it would deprive that section of the heaviness of propaganda tracts: the question that immediately arises then is, if such distancing, which is not ironic, but merely [?] playful would work with an audience that is entirely unacquainted with stark woodcut like outlines of "socialist realist" agit-prop? Other kinds of propaganda of course exists within the air we breathe.... Handke may have changed, and why shouldn't he change in some ways and in some ways stay the same: but with respect to his original insistence that all you can do on a stage is play he has remained true to himself.

    However, the question of how STURM might be staged in English most likely is entirely academic, for who knows or wants to be informed about the manner in which the Carinthian Slovenes got screwed... by history... once again, and after having been the only ones within the realm of the "Grossdeutsche Reich" to take up arms. A translation into English is of course feasible, a production much less so unless adapted, or it is made very clear that "Slovenians" in this instance is surrogate for no end of other suppressed minorities. That, however, still does not plug the missing hole, the lack of tension [see comment of August 31], of a HAMLET [INA] in this instance. But it elides it!

    The play ends not with PLAY ON as does WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES but with the players exchanging hand gestures, and Handke takes the SLOVENIANS into the kind of other world wide realm by referencing Athabathkians - which is a general cultural term, he might have said Inuit or Tinglit, two of the major native related languages spoken in Alaskan. I myself would suggest indigenous people of the Andes who remained comparatively intact, perhaps because of the intercession of St. Bartolomo de Las Casas and whom if you have lived in the Baja and Los Angeles you can see trooping north and performing with some marvelous musical instruments, that would fit in well with Handke's Maul Trommeln. Scott Abbott in an above comment suggested that among the gestures and winks exchanged there might also be one or the other finger! Possiblemente!


    B] Unless my mind is playing tricks with me, not a one of the numerous reviewers of the book


    and play mentions the extent to which STURM takes recourse to Handke's great 1981 UEBER DIE DOERFER/ WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES; not even Lothar Struck in all his effusiveness who used to have DOERFER on the tip of his tongue. For this translator, intense translator of WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, it is a little eery to come on long sequences that are rewritings, also of its ending: The entire sequence about talking to his dead comes straight out of, barely rewritten, from VILLAGES, so does the sing song to and fro between "I" and Uncle Gregor towards the end duplicate in now, in more condensed one line fashion, the alternating discourse at the end of VILLAGES as well its nicely bitter tone. If Johann Sebastian Bach used parts of cantatas and wrote different lyrics
    for it - why not Peter Handke. Does it implicate it's authenticity? But it is one of the rare instances where Handke really repeats himself. Of course a fine thesis remains to be written, or gain my attention, on how the rhythms of VILLAGES/ DOERFER surface in subsequent work, or how Handke takes recourse, cannibalizes his richest work. With the intensity of my translation work, I myself shall probably expire gasping lines from my best translation. VILLAGES was badly received in Krautland [which lies next to Puntland on this Pirate's map!] and so Handke is receiving praise for STURM that he ought to have for VILLAGES, whence it originates in him, in the best of him, and which is truly stormy and does not have a hole at the center at the end. That's how it goes I have noticed, you get praise for the wrong thing, not that the first three acts here are not great, as is the FIFTH, with above reservations or comments.

    ACT V can be said to have its LEAR moment in GREGOR'S peroration - his verbal AMOK run - which Handke work fails to manifest that impulse? It's WELTSCHMERZ POLKA, off key!! makes for a great La Valse indeed. And the stage, the heath is different, it now lacks a tree. It is entirely barren.

    The parts of ACT V that delight me, a lover of JABBERWOCKY who'd like nothing better if the whole world was turned into it
    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!'

    as they do in the entire play are those sections that dissolve into word play. However, it is a successful and marvelous last act, despite the fact that the the interpersonal tension is missing here, that it is by an large a dirge, with Gregor's AMOK RUNNING. One final comment on the play as a whole, after one more look through.

  21. Michael,

    although I've not commented for a while, I've been reading your thoughtful analyses with great interest.

    A couple of thoughts of my own about the fourth act.

    Among other things, this is an act informed by the forms of religious litany.

    At least twice the action of the act is stopped by litanies:

    p. 105, for instance, where Jonathan-Gregor talks about food the way a priest would talk about GOD --

    Die halbe Zeit dort oben im Wald reden wir nur vom Essen. Lammkeule in Speck gebraten, erbarme dich unser. Heidensterz in Grammelschmalz geschwenkt, bitte für uns. . . .

    or on p. 123 the man and the woman lay out their GOD --

    Die Frau: Und das Einstampfen des Sauerkrauts, das Einlegen der Essiggurken -- Der Mann: Und das Eintreten der Söhne und der Töchter in die Stube -- Die Frau: Heilig war der Frieden, heilig, heilig, heilig.

    This is the man who commanded that his family not use the word GOD. In these scenes, it seems to me, the blood and body of CHRIST are being substantiated into bread and wine.


  22. Scott, these are litanies all right, but I have a hunch that you are not appreciating how a dyed-in-the-wool Catholic like our Peter can also have his fun with litanies, and these two are marvelous examples of it. LAMB SHANK FRIED IN BACON, HAVE MERCY ON US.... the second example you cite segues into a more serious note after, initially, being on the same wave length as the first, that is our artist and his variations! m.r.

  23. Since i am doing a note for the revista-of-reviews
    page on all of Lothar's takes on Handke and Handke related texts





    I came into contact with Lothar Struck who conducts the "begleitschreiben" blog the successor to quite some years ago now when he contacted me on seeing a comment I had left at at something about Handke in Die Zeit and we then did on on-line interview about Handke's engagement in matters Yugoslav defense of the Serbs being made entirely culpable for the crimes committed during the disintegration of Yugoslavia, a matter that I had given considerable thought to. This interview has not made the transfer of Struck's blog from two day net to his newest electronic incarnation. Initially, it was a pleasure to be in touch with someone who knew Handke's work and who appreciated it, otherwise I would not write this post mortem to a relationship that foundered because Struck ultimately is an adoring fan who a lacks the element of critique in is appreciation, among other failures of discernment. In other words, Struck, who has even assumed the pseudonym Gregor Keuschnig Handke's own humorous self-appellation as of A MOMENT OF TRUE FEELING and also the protagonist of MY ONE YEAR IN THE NO-MAN'S BAY, is such a one to whom the "real" Keuschnig says in NO-MAN'S BAY, when he comes adoring, "I am not the one." As such, this adoration in someone who is not devoid of critical judgment at other times does no real harm, although it can be said that such adoration then fails to foster understanding. And I am not talking about fine points here. Nor is Struck all that sensitive or stellar a reader. To start with a few current posting of his, both at Glanz & Elend, where Struck writes both under the pseudonym and under his own name:


    Let me give a few instances. Lothar does a deceptively nice job, more thorough an useful than any of the paid reviewers who may earn a few Euros but are not allowed the space to do a proper job, and thus become quite Slick - Weinzierl, Pilz, et al - in describing the opening scene of IMMER NOCH STURM Here

    Ein Ich-Erzähler sitzt auf einer Bank auf einer Wiese, in der Heide, im Jaunfeld. Ein Apfelbäumchen behängt mit etwa 99 Äpfeln gibt ihm Schutz und er kommt ins Phantasieren, ins Heraufbeschwören. Aufmarsch der Vorfahren. Sie erscheinen ihm - oder er lässt sie erscheinen? Er ist der einzige, der sie noch träumt: Nicht ich lasse euch nicht in Ruhe. Es läßt mich nicht in Ruhe, nicht ruhen. Ihr laßt mich nicht in Ruhe. Im Laufe der Erzählung (oder ist ein Drama?) frischt der Wind auf, kommt von vorne, von hinten und von oben, wird zum Sturm (zum Erinnerungssturm sowieso). Und die Landschaft, die Kindsheimat, nein: die Bleibe, dieses wiedergeholte Kärnten verändert sich im Laufe dieser Ahnen-Epiphanien. Das ist mehr als nur die Suche nach den eigenen Wurzeln. Vielleicht ist "Immer noch Sturm" das wirkliche Nachtbuch Peter Handkes (und das vor wenigen Wochen erschienene ist nur ein Präludium).

  24. There is one matter I left out in what was meant as a last comment on IMMER NOCH STURM that I introduced into the main tex.... its element of time. Various reviewers comment on the length of the play, and also on some in the premiere audience nodding off by the 2nd Act. That got me to thinking how I would direct it and where I would want to direct it, to allow the play's sense of eternal time unfold without putting my gnats to sleep. In an Orchard? On a meadow? Certainly in a rural surround? But an entirely "natural one"? I recall, will forever, Goethe's IPHEGENIA IN TAURIS, very much of a peace play, being done in an olive grove in Dubrovnik, more than 50 years ago, I was still a teenager. That seemed a conducive setting. Thus maybe an entirely natural surrounding after all. Breaks? How many? One after each act, so that the audience has a chance to absorb and reflect, for what it has heard to sink in, pauses of that kind are easier in natural surround. One could also just have actors read the parts. After all, the demands made on the actors are fairly extreme, and on the "I", stupendous. All important I think is the sense of a l o n g t i m e of dureé to prevail.

  25. Michael,
    I've just read through this entire collection and have a few last (for the moment) thoughts.

    1. the fact that this play is about time and thus ought to play out in time, e x p a n d e d t i m e, as you put it, makes perfect sense to me.

    That doesn't make it any less difficult; in fact, it makes it more difficult. But why not a difficult play? That's exactly what I thought coming out of the premiere of Voyage by Dugout, to whit, this won't make it to Broadway but I'm damned grateful to have been here tonight, grateful that Peter and Peymann trusted me to sit here for 3 hours, trusted me to listen to long monologues, trusted me to follow a difficult and rewarding set of ideas.

    2. The litanies I mentioned above, about which you wondered if I caught their playfulness -- I did indeed. They're wonderfully playful, sly, and mocking. They emphasize, I think, that while GOD will not play a positive part in this play, some of the literary forms that have grown up around GOD, if properly ironic, might be filled with a different kind of wine.

    3. I'd love to see the play in a grove of apple trees; and if a cuckoo or a nightingale (both of which I first heard while looking for Peter Handke with Zarko -- the cuckoo in the hills above Griffen -- or while traveling with Peter -- at the bridge over the Drina in Visegrad) happened to call, I might break down in tears, at which point a good Brechtian director might employ some kind of Verfremdung to get me back out of my emotional romanticizing.

    4. This play first caught my interest with the quality of its sentences, with the richness of the early ideas. It won my devotion when I realized that the Partisans -- the people fighting against the Nazis and for the Slovenian language, the GOOD GUYS -- slipped into the language of their oppressors. At this point the play became dialectical for me, shredding the Heimat simplicities that threatened to inundate us with milk and cheese and hay and the pure language of pure country people.

    5. Finally, while I focus on language, you focus on family dynamics (not so much Handke family dynamics but those of the characters), as only an analyst is able. Perhaps this has been a good, double-visioned reading of a play that deserves a lot of good readers and attentive audiences.

    Thanks for the invitation.

  26. Yes, Scott, it has been marvelous to dwell on this overall marvelous play with an equal. Regrettably none of our equals and betters in Europe have joined us or helped clue us in on how some matters in the premiere performance were handled. The overall inadequacy of the reviewing organs - however, there is still time. The same ensemble will do STURM at the Burg Theater in Vienna, which will then enter the repertoire of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. If further reviews come in I will add them to those assembled at:

    I am still troubled by Act IV, subsequent to its fine intro - you say "dialectical" ,
    it is certainly true that in fighting a hegemon you become, adapt, cannot but
    help adopt some of its features. Just think of that crazy little revolutionary who hailed from Rosario in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. How "cunning" is our great artist writer Handke in this instance. You will recall my initial reaction: "That is how Haensenklein" imagines the resistance!" Subsequently I tried to envision how that fourth Act might play, and satisfied myself that there were at least two stylized ways of doing so. I think part of my problem with that Act continues to be that by comparison with the heartfeltness of the first three acts, and Act V, how amazingly intimate they manage to be despite Handke's artistic objectivity... this Act IV in the way SNOWCHICK/ Ursula & Gregor/ JONATAN speak is anything but intimate... they have become flat, masks, their souls their complexity is masked. How cunning the dialectic, how cunning Handke, how cunning the fox of history! Think of the marvelous way Handke handles the cliche that concentration camps have become by turning Mauthausen into a fairy tale land! Something similar, on that order, might have occurred to him about what is now mythic, the origins of Partisan Belgrade soccer team name! Also the absence of mention of the ANSCHLUSS of Austria's pretend identity of having been a victim of Nazism [or of its own delusions!] ctd. to trouble me. Who knows whether Handke's first readers, Peter Hamm and his editors Raimund Fellinger and H. J. Drescher, and I imagine Klaus Peymann, who was meant to direct the premiere, brought up these matters - it appears it is no longer the case, since Handke claims that his arrogance lies in the past, that he "sends [them] the m.s. and they print it." Only their memoirs will tell us I suppose.

    Rereading the opening of your translation of VOYAGE BY DUGOUT the other day I noticed
    how flat the conventions of that tradition of socially committed theater had become, within which that particular play exists, perhaps as a final highpoint, and I felt that it required the kind of Shakespearean opening that Handke has in his PREPARATIONS FOR IMMORTALITY, bold, immediate strokes. So much for now from yours truly in Seattle where the weather ctd. marvelous I keep looking over my shoulder!


    Verges­sen wir ein­mal, wie der Regis­seur Dimi­ter Got­s­cheff sei­nen Schau­spie­ler des Jah­res, Jens Har­zer, förm­lich zur Schlacht­bank führt, indem er ihn in all sei­ner Begrenzt­heit in einem bei­nahe halb­stün­di­gen Schluss­mo­no­log vor­führt. Immer wie­der muß Har­zer hin und her tigern, zwei Meter nach rechts, zwei Meter nach links und dabei sprö­deste hand­ke­sche Agitprop-Texte aufsagen.

    Der typi­sche Har­zer­ton, jenes irgendwo zwi­schen Gau­men und Nase ent­ste­hende Nölen, daß noch in Jette Ste­ckels »Don Car­los« so viel klar machen konnte, zur Bre­chung des Muse­um­s­tex­tes führte und wohl auch aus­schlag­ge­bend für den Jah­res­ti­tel war, der die ganze Kol­le­gen­schar besof­fen machte – end­lich ein Anti-Schiller zwi­schen Poe­sie und All­tag, weg mit den alten Zöp­fen und­so­fort – die­ser Ton demas­kiert sich hier ein­deu­tig als die immer wie­der­keh­rende Masche eines recht guten, aber eben doch nur durch­schnitt­lich guten Schauspielers.



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